Bath Beat: Meeting the Gate Keeper
(26.5 miles)

April 2010

Check list:

1. OS Maps for Uncle
2. Revised route descriptions for us both to indicate paragraph number and step.
3. Lots more water
4. Running backpack
5. Compass
6. Phone
7. Lots of sandwiches and snack bars

This time I was more prepared. Bedford Clangers taught me some lessons.

Weather: Clear and sunny. Highs of 18 degrees

I was nervous as I got out in the school car park and took my tyre out and wondered if I should leave my pet behind. However Richard, a volunteer and marshal, greeted and welcomed me. As I dragged "Ted" my tyre over to the school gate (the check out point), a "gaggle" of walkers looked over. One loudly said "what a show off!". I smiled politely and carried on my way. Playground banter was never my thing.

Within the first mile, I heard "maaaaaaaad, maaaaaad". I laughed to myself as the sheep looked at me bewildered and bleated more "maaaad"s.

After the fields, were some woods. This was a rocky, bumpy undertaking and strangely reminded me of the North Pole, when my pulk would get stuck on ice struts/brash ice jutting upwards from the ground. From that I learnt to adjust the length of my rope so that my pulk would be closer to me and easier to manage. It worked the same for the tyre.

The scenery was beautiful and I was rather miffed that I forgot my camera yet again! Thank goodness Uncle took some photos of this event.

Met 2 older runners (a lady and guy) in their 70s who loved to run. The lady had run 174 marathons and the guy had run 171 marathons! Both told me I had plenty of time to achieve 100 as I gasped for breathe at the top of a steep hill!!!

Plenty of quad killing hills

Dave, a runner/walker who I met earlier on and then met again as he got lost and refound his path asked me if I was Roman Catholic as "obviously I was paying penance". I replied yes I was paying penance for how poor we look after mother earth. He was full of banter and chat and we managed to lose our direction as we followed a couple who we thought were doing the same route as us but weren't!!! 30 minutes was lost retracing footsteps and finding our way back to the route description.

We caught up with another group of people doing the same route where an older lady seemed rather indignant that I should drag a tyre and I must be a yuff!

".....and why do you want to drag a tyre? It is quite unnecessary.......Which university are you from?......" I explained to her about the sheep......

Coming up to CP6, I noticed Dave now running low on steam. He had earlier on told me he was diabetic. At CP6 we were welcomed into the village hall to have soup and chilli. Dave told me he was good to carry on, but I thought it good for him to eat something. He took a blood sample and found he was low. So we stopped for 20 minutes. Another walker came and sat by us. He also happened to be diabetic got talking to Dave. I excused myself as I would be slower and made a start. I would not see Dave again until the last check point.

Jackie - lover of mud and my gate keeper

Leaving CP6, a lady called Jackie caught up with me. She would become my companion and gate keeper until the last 3 miles.

She had started running when she was 39 and fed up with her weight. She was 5 foot and 14 stone before she started running. Would never have guessed. She was aiming to do 12 marathons a year as she was targetting to reach 100 marathons.

Lovely lady who was full of positive thoughts and good energy. She held open all the gates, stopped the kissing gates from swinging and now wants to part drag a tyre in a marathon. I have agreed if 5-4-3-2-1 agree to have me in their marathon.

There were some very very muddy paths, and after trying to avoid them, Jackie decide enough was enough and ran thru them. The mud was deeper than she thought! At least it hadn't sucked off her shoes. At the last check point, Jackie decide to run the last 3 miles and meet me at the end.

All in all this was a fantastic event with spectacular views, great CP support, 44 gates and 68 stiles to cross, over 3,200 feet of ascent, but the quad killer comes towards the end with a seemingly endless set of steep stone steps to climb.......and my beaten up box hung on to Ted (my tyre). Ted was amazing!!! Went thru cow poo, shoe sucking mud, smashed about on rocky grounds. Better give Ted a wash.


Other Banter of the Day

Whilst heading along a canal towards Avoncliff, I pass a family of four in a boat. Mother and father are rowing slowly. Father calls out: "Hey you can drag us!". I laugh "Thought that's why you brought the kids out!"

A walker I passed 3 times
1st time I pass him: "Excuse me did you know you're dragging a tyre?"
Reply: "Yes I couldn't bring the dog out"

2nd time I pass him: "Excuse me did you know your dog is a tyre?"
Reply: "Bad dog!"

3rd time I pass him: "Excuse me I know I've said this before but did you know you're dragging a tyre?"
Reply: "I need to retire from this banter......"